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Review: Apple vs Google USB-C Headphone Adapters

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Jul 19, 2019
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It's nice that these things have good audio quality, but it's ridiculous that they're needed at all. They should take these nice DAC/amps and build them into the devices, like they used to. It's a gigantic step backwards in usability to have to carry these tiny little dongles around in order to have the functionality that older devices had built in. What are you supposed to do with these stupid things? Carry one around 24/7? You'll lose it. Carry one hanging out of the phone/tablet? It looks ridiculous and it'll break. Keep it attached to the headphones? Then you have to buy one for every pair of headphones, or other audio device, and you can't play music on someone else's system if they don't have one.

The whole point of a smartphone was that it was a self-contained all-in-one portable device you could carry around 24/7 in your pocket and always have on you. It defeats that purpose if you have to carry a bag of accessories in order for it to function. I'm going to hold onto my iPhone SE and 6S as long as possible as they're the last ones Apple made with headphone jacks.

The only alternative to a 3.5mm jack that I would accept is if USB-C becomes the standard for all phones and other devices and also for headphones, and if it passes both analog and digital audio signals, so you use it with passive or active headphones.
 

Frank Dernie

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It's nice that these things have good audio quality, but it's ridiculous that they're needed at all. They should take these nice DAC/amps and build them into the devices, like they used to. It's a gigantic step backwards in usability to have to carry these tiny little dongles around in order to have the functionality that older devices had built in. What are you supposed to do with these stupid things? Carry one around 24/7? You'll lose it. Carry one hanging out of the phone/tablet? It looks ridiculous and it'll break. Keep it attached to the headphones? Then you have to buy one for every pair of headphones, or other audio device, and you can't play music on someone else's system if they don't have one.

The whole point of a smartphone was that it was a self-contained all-in-one portable device you could carry around 24/7 in your pocket and always have on you. It defeats that purpose if you have to carry a bag of accessories in order for it to function. I'm going to hold onto my iPhone SE and 6S as long as possible as they're the last ones Apple made with headphone jacks.

The only alternative to a 3.5mm jack that I would accept is if USB-C becomes the standard for all phones and other devices and also for headphones, and if it passes both analog and digital audio signals, so you use it with passive or active headphones.
Since the only time I use my phone to listen to music is when travelling convenience trumps ultimate SQ so I have gone wireless anyway. Noise cancelling too.
No more cable pulling out, being damaged or snagging. I almost certainly would not have tried wireless if I still had the headphone socket so in a backhanded way it has -slightly- improved my life.
 
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Since the only time I use my phone to listen to music is when travelling convenience trumps ultimate SQ so I have gone wireless anyway. Noise cancelling too.
No more cable pulling out, being damaged or snagging. I almost certainly would not have tried wireless if I still had the headphone socket so in a backhanded way it has -slightly- improved my life.
It depends on the situation and equipment.

User options is something should not get lost. Phone makers are following a "obsolescence/buy new" plan (the best for them obviously).

I have 3 wireless headphones, and like 6 wired. At home always go wired to get the best quality. On the street I go wireless.

Remember wireless heaphones are limited due to the use of batteries.

Manuel.
 

Rja4000

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There are 2 versions of it, US version A2049 which could output 1v, and EU version A2155 which limited to 0.5v.
A2155 is NOT GOOD

It's not only the level. Performance has nothing to do with US version.

Here is best measurement I was able to get from this one.
Level is -3.45dBu, which is around 0.52Vrms.
But SINAD hardly reaches 79dB !
That's 20dB worse than the one Amir tested !


And, after some days, it just stops working.


(Measurement with Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, ADC is RME ADI-2 Pro fs, +4dBu range)

000114-THD+N_THD+N_0.png



Please compare to Amir's results:
Not exactly the same...
Apple iPhone USB-C Headphone Adapter Audio Measurements.png
 
Last edited:

Veri

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A2155 is NOT GOOD

It's not only the level. Performance has nothing to do with US version.

And, after some days, it just stops working.

Here is best measurement I was able to get from this one.
That's 20dB worse than the one Amir tested !

(Measurement with Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, ADC is RME ADI-2 Pro fs, +4dBu range)


View attachment 38226


Please compare to Amir's results:
Not exactly the same...
View attachment 38227
Someone posted before that the apple adapter is only good with phone/battery source, that it isn't as good with noisier computer/laptop. Maybe that is a factor.
 

Frank Dernie

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It depends on the situation and equipment.

User options is something should not get lost. Phone makers are following a "obsolescence/buy new" plan (the best for them obviously).

I have 3 wireless headphones, and like 6 wired. At home always go wired to get the best quality. On the street I go wireless.

Remember wireless heaphones are limited due to the use of batteries.

Manuel.
Ah! I too have 3 sets of wireless, B&O, B&W and just got the new Apple ones and loads of wired from Stax, AKG, B&W, Kingsound, Verum, ZMF I can think of.
I go to Oxford on the bus sometimes. When I get home I have used ~ 20% of the battery.
At home I mainly use speakers so, yes, having loads of headphones makes little sense but...
 

Rja4000

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Someone posted before that the apple adapter is only good with phone/battery source, that it isn't as good with noisier computer/laptop. Maybe that is a factor.
A2155 is NOT GOOD

It's not only the level. Performance has nothing to do with US version.

Here is best measurement I was able to get from this one.
Level is -3.45dBu, which is around 0.52Vrms.
But SINAD hardly reaches 79dB !
That's 20dB worse than the one Amir tested !


And, after some days, it just stops working.


(Measurement with Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, ADC is RME ADI-2 Pro fs, +4dBu range)

View attachment 38226


Please compare to Amir's results:
Not exactly the same...
View attachment 38227
Just to put things in perspective:

Here is a measurement of the direct output of Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Note that the Samsung driver forces re-sampling to 16 bits.
(Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, WAV file recorded from sine generator, played with Foobar app on Note 9,
Note's Headphone Jack out, RME ADI-2 Pro fs as ADC, +4dBu = 0dBFS)

2019-11-08 15_16_15-Greenshot.png


So no need for the Apple dongle here.
 
Last edited:

Rja4000

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Just to put things in perspective:

Here is a measurement of the direct output of Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Note that the Samsung driver forces re-sampling to 16 bits.
(Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, WAV file recorded from sine generator, played with Foobar app on Note 9,
Headphone Jack out, RME ADI-2 Pro fs as ADC, +4dBu = 0dBFS)

View attachment 38235
And, finally, direct output from my Dell XPS15 9570's headphones out.
Really, the European version of the Apple Dongle adds nothing as a DAC !
(Well, to be fair, distortion is higher, here)

2019-11-08 15_59_40-Greenshot.png
 
Last edited:

Veri

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Just to put things in perspective:

Here is a measurement of the direct output of Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Note that the Samsung driver forces re-sampling to 16 bits.
(Virtins Multi Instrument 3.8, WAV file recorded from sine generator, played with Foobar app on Note 9,
Headphone Jack out, RME ADI-2 Pro fs as ADC, +4dBu = 0dBFS)

View attachment 38235
It sure fluctuates according to the device, then
 
Joined
May 23, 2019
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It seems with anemic output level, with worse quality, EU version is not a logical choice.
Luckily there are tons of sellers in ebay who sells a2049s to EU area.
 

AudioSceptic

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It's nice that these things have good audio quality, but it's ridiculous that they're needed at all. They should take these nice DAC/amps and build them into the devices, like they used to. It's a gigantic step backwards in usability to have to carry these tiny little dongles around in order to have the functionality that older devices had built in. What are you supposed to do with these stupid things? Carry one around 24/7? You'll lose it. Carry one hanging out of the phone/tablet? It looks ridiculous and it'll break. Keep it attached to the headphones? Then you have to buy one for every pair of headphones, or other audio device, and you can't play music on someone else's system if they don't have one.

The whole point of a smartphone was that it was a self-contained all-in-one portable device you could carry around 24/7 in your pocket and always have on you. It defeats that purpose if you have to carry a bag of accessories in order for it to function. I'm going to hold onto my iPhone SE and 6S as long as possible as they're the last ones Apple made with headphone jacks.

The only alternative to a 3.5mm jack that I would accept is if USB-C becomes the standard for all phones and other devices and also for headphones, and if it passes both analog and digital audio signals, so you use it with passive or active headphones.
The crazy thing is that an ADC and DAC + amp are still required inside the phone for mic and speaker.
 

AudioSceptic

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Since the only time I use my phone to listen to music is when travelling convenience trumps ultimate SQ so I have gone wireless anyway. Noise cancelling too.
No more cable pulling out, being damaged or snagging. I almost certainly would not have tried wireless if I still had the headphone socket so in a backhanded way it has -slightly- improved my life.
I've done the same. I use RHA Bluetooth IEMs and the sound is easily good enough using AAC 192 k. Accepting the loss of the socket means that I could get an iPhone 7 with 256 GB storage, so I can take a lot of music and podcasts with me.
 

Ownsin

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Nov 14, 2019
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Hey guys, I have the HD 598 headphones. Do you think the apple dongle will be enough to drive it or should I get something else?
 

Veri

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Hey guys, I have the HD 598 headphones. Do you think the apple dongle will be enough to drive it or should I get something else?
The US one should be enough. Note that on Android you might not get full volume.
 
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